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How To Keep Monitor On When Laptop Is Closed with Mac

Macbook With Closed Lid

Many people frequently use an external monitor with MacBooks to improve work efficiency, especially when dealing with spreadsheets and data. But if the monitor turns off every time you shut the MacBook cover, you will spend too much time restarting programs and applications. Restarting programs not only wastes time but is also inconvenient.

The first thing to know about keeping a monitor on is that the MacBook is designed to enter sleeping mode when closed. Sleeping mode helps maintain the battery life and conserve power. 

Quick Answer

Fortunately, learning to keep the monitor on after closing the MacBook is pretty simple. On your MacBook, change the power adapter settings to “Never” to prevent the MacBook from automatically sleeping when you close the cover.

Read on to learn how to change power adapter settings and other methods you can use to achieve the same goal.

Overview of Using a Monitor With the MacBook Closed

Your MacBook is designed to get into “sleep mode” when you close the cover. Sleeping mode is essential to conserving power, maintaining battery life, and charging faster if the machine is plugged into a power source. 

Unfortunately, the sleeping mode automatically pauses any programs running on the MacBook. If you are pairing a monitor with the MacBook, you might have to restart these applications.

Instead of dealing with these inconveniences, it’s best to learn how to keep the monitor on when you close the MacBook. Additionally, learning how to keep the monitor on will come in handy if you don’t have enough working space for both devices. You can close the MacBook and put it away but still work on the monitor.

An essential thing to remember about using a monitor when the MacBook is off is to keep the machine from overheating. To prevent the MacBook from overheating, avoid having too many programs running in the background. 

Additionally, avoid leaving the MacBook in an enclosed space like a backpack for longer than necessary. Enclosed spaces block the MacBook’s ventilators from releasing heat. Instead, place the machine in a cool open space to allow the back case to emit and distribute heat evenly.

Next, we discuss the methods and exact steps to keep the monitor on when you close your MacBook.

Keeping Monitor on When MacBook Is Closed

Here’s how to keep the monitor on when you shut off the MacBook:

Method #1: Enabling Clamshell Mode

Follow the steps below to enable clamshell mode.

  1. Click on the “Apple” icon on your MacBook.
  2. Scroll the menu to find “System Preferences”, then, click on it.
  3. On the next page, click on “Energy Saver”.
  4. Next, slide the “Display sleep” and “Computer sleep” toggle to “Never”.
  5. Plug your MacBook into a power source, then connect it to the monitor and keyboard using a compatible display adapter.
  6. Close the MacBook’s lid after the MacBook desktop appears on the external monitor.
  7. The monitor, keyboard, and mouse should keep running after closing the MacBook.

Method #2: Downloading a Third-Party App

If enabling clamshell mode doesn’t work for you, use a third-party app like Amphetamine to keep the monitor on when you close your MacBook. Amphetamine is a lightweight app with multiple functions, including keeping a monitor on when you close your MacBook. 

Follow the steps below to use Amphetamine:

  1. Go to “App Store” then, search, click and download Amphetamine to your MacBook.
  2. Launch Amphetamine from the applications folder. A pill-shaped icon will appear on the MacBook’s desktop.
  3. Click on the “pill-shaped icon” to access the Amphetamines menu.
  4. On Amphetamine’s menu, go to “Quick Preferences” then uncheck the “Allow system sleep when the display is closed” option.
  5. Next, a window pop-up with Amphetamine’s closed-display options and features will appear. Read thoroughly to understand how to operate the app.
  6. Go back to Amphetamine’s menu to select how long you want to keep the monitor on when the MacBook is off.
  7. Click on your preferred timeline, then select “Enable”.

Note that you can use Amphetamine without connecting the MacBook to a power source. But, this might drain your battery faster. Instead, configure the app’s settings to shut down after reaching a specific battery percentage.

To configure, go to Amphetamine’s menu and tap On “System Defaults”. Use the slider to choose a battery level below which the app will end the session. To end a closed-display session, open your MacBook cover, click on the “pill-shaped icon”, and select the “End Current Session” option.


As learned from this article, you can keep a monitor running by enabling clamshell mode on your MacBook. Alternatively, you can download the Amphetamine app to your MacBook and use its various customizable features to keep the monitor on when you close your MacBook.

Frequently Asked Questions

Does using an external monitor with my MacBook affect the battery life?

Using clamshell mode will not affect your MacBook’s battery life. But, your battery will drain faster when using third-party apps like Amphetamine for closed-display sessions with a monitor.

Should I worry when my MacBook heats up after connecting to a monitor?

It’s normal for a MacBook to heat when connected to an external monitor. You can try disconnecting the monitor to see if the MacBook cools down after a few minutes. When using the monitor, ensure you place the MacBook in an open and cool place to allow proper heat emission.

How can I use an external monitor with my MacBook closed?

You can use an external monitor with your MacBook closed by changing the power adapter settings. To change, go to “System Preferences” > “Battery” > “Power Adapter” > “Never”.

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